This post is part of the #JUMPchallenge, a blogging competition designed to raise awareness of how to join up online and offline marketing, launched to support Econsultancy’s JUMP event.

This post was written by Geoff Galat, and was published on the tealeaf blog. Geoff talks about how a bad customer experience has a knock on effect across all channels. 

Does this scenario sound familiar? You invest thousands of pounds on complex marketing strategies that are all designed to push prospects to a particular destination – often a website – only for them to fall at the final hurdle.

The DM is brilliant, the eshot hits the nail on the head, but on the site itself, the visitor has a nightmare trying to navigate from page to page and, at that crucial conversion point, gets a 404 error or their credit card fails to go through properly. All that money spent driving visitors is wasted.

This is an example we hear time and time again.

In the past, these ‘final stage’ errors or problems would result in the customer merely taking their business elsewhere and, at worst, would result in them talking negatively about the brand to their friends or colleagues.

In recent years however, with the growth of the social web, the likelihood is that the brand will take a much harder hit when the user shares negative sentiment on Twitter or Facebook, potentially reaching a much wider audience.

This brand impact can be big. Research we conducted recently with Harris Interactive found that 13% of British online adults who encountered problems conducting online transactions said they shared those experiences on a blog or social networking site, nearly twice as many as the previous year.

However, the stats also show that customers were more reluctant to enter into direct communication with a company, with only 35% of all British online adults contacting a company’s call centre after encountering problems using the website (down from 42%).

We are clearly becoming less and less tolerant with brands and this has an effect on how brands market to us.

Joined up brand experiences; it’s more than just marketing

So, talk of joining up marketing is vital. Now, more than ever before, brands need to see themselves in a more integrated way because this is exactly how a customer will see them.

If I visit a retailer’s offline store, I expect to get the same level of service, the same ‘brand experience’, as I would on their website or via their Twitter account.  When I speak to a customer service operative on the phone, I expect them to have a joined up view of the brand across every channel.

The individual components still matter

However, while these joined up brand experiences are vital, it is still incredibly important to ensure that individual tactics and channels are still operating effectively in isolation. Take the example I gave above, the website was failing and this then had a knock on effect across multiple channels.

So to achieve excellence in joined up marketing, brands need to work hard on two levels. Yes, it is vital to ensure that customer experiences on individual channels or at specific touchpoints are as positive and problem-free as possible. But, at a macro level, it’s also important to ensure that the brand experience is uniform.

Brands that understand this and put it into practice will benefit from increased revenues and heightened brand affinity.

This is one of the entries in the JUMP blogging challenge, and we’re looking for more bloggers to contribute by posting an article. The closing date for entries is September 17. 

The winner will receive a ‘blogging hamper’, which includes an iPad, a press pass to JUMP, free Econsultancy membership, some strawberry jam and more. More details here